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Daily News – 05.02.2014

Daily News of 2014-02-05

European Commission - 05/02/2014

EXME 14 / 05.02

DAILY NEWS

05 / 02 / 14

Antitrust: Commission obtains from Google comparable display of specialised search rivals

The European Commission has obtained an improved commitments proposal from Google in the context of the ongoing antitrust investigation on online search and search advertising. In its proposal, Google has now accepted to guarantee that whenever it promotes its own specialised search services on its web page (e.g. for products, hotels, restaurants, etc.), the services of three rivals, selected through an objective method, will also be displayed in a way that is clearly visible to users and comparable to the way in which Google displays its own services (see also MEMO/14/87). This principle will apply not only for existing specialised search services, but also to changes in the presentation of those services and for future services.

Other news

L'Union européenne poursuit son engagement en faveur du développement et de la stabilisation du Mali

Le Mali, la France et la Commission européenne organisent aujourd'hui à Bruxelles la seconde réunion internationale de suivi de la Conférence des Donateurs pour le développement au Mali. La première réunion internationale de suivi a eu lieu à Bruxelles le 15 mai 2013 et s'était conclue par l'annonce d'un soutien de 1 350 milliards d'euros pour le renouveau du Mali, dont 523 millions d'euros alloués par la Commission européenne. Neuf mois après, il est temps de se demander où nous en sommes avec ces engagements.

Le Président Barroso rencontrera le Premier Ministre du Mali Oumar Tatam Ly demain. Un point de presse est prévu pour 11:30, suivant lequel le discours du Président Barroso sera disponible en ligne.

State aid: Commission approves regional aid map 2014-2020 for Czech Republic

The European Commission has approved the map of Czech Republic for granting state aid between 2014 and 2020 regional aid within the framework of the Commission's new regional aid guidelines adopted by the Commission in June 2013 (see IP/13/569). The new guidelines set out under which conditions Member States can grant state aid to businesses for regional development purposes. They aim to foster growth and promote greater cohesion in the Single Market.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into restructuring aid for Estonian Air

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether the plans of Estonia to grant €40.7 million state aid for the restructuring of the national flag carrier Estonian Air is in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will in particular assess whether the airline's restructuring plan is suitable to restore the company's long term viability and to offset the distortions of competition created by the state support. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the measures under assessment; it does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

State aid: Commission opens in-depth investigation into restructuring aid for Cyprus Airways

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether Cyprus' plans to support the restructuring of Cyprus Airways with €102 million are in line with EU state aid rules. The Commission will investigate in particular whether the restructuring plan is suitable to make Cyprus Airways viable without continued state support and to offset the competition distortions created by the state aid. The opening of an in-depth investigation gives interested third parties an opportunity to comment on the measures under assessment; it does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

State aid: Commission authorises investment aid for ''energy from waste'' gasification plant in Lahti, Finland

The European Commission has concluded that Finnish plans to grant Lahti Energia € 14. 725 million of investment aid for a gasification plant are in line with EU State aid rules. The Commission found in particular that the aid will further EU energy and environmental goals without unduly distorting competition in the Single Market.

Mergers: Commission clears joint venture between JLL Partners and Koninkijke DSM

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the creation of a joint venture by JLL Partners of the US and Koninkijke DSM N.V. of the Netherlands. JLL is a private equity firm holding interests in various industries such as healthcare, financial services, industrial and building products, aerospace, etc. DSM is a global service-based company, active in health, nutrition and functional materials. JLL and DSM will transfer some of their pharmaceutical businesses to the joint venture that will be active in contract manufacturing outsourcing, active pharmaceutical ingredients and pharmaceutical product development services. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because the overlaps between the parties' activities in the European Economic Area (EEA) are minor. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7114 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of 9 wind farm companies by Axpo France and EDPR France

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over 9 wind energy plants in France by Axpo CKW France SAS and EDP Renewables France, both of France. Axpo France is controlled by AXPO Holding AG of Switzerland and active among others in the energy sector. EDPR France is controlled by EDP Renováveis S.A of Portugal and is operating on-shore wind farms in France. The parties' activities overlap for the generation and wholesale supply of electricity in France. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because of the parties' limited market shares. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information will be available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7108 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over IEE by Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the Philippine registered company International Elevator & Equipment Inc (IEE) by the Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Corporation is a general trading company. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation manufactures and sells electric and electronic equipment. IEE is active in the supply, installation, maintenance and repair of elevators, escalators and moving walkways, as well as the supply of air conditioners, diesel generator sets and hand dryers. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because IEE's activities are limited to the Philippines. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7142 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over MET by Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over the Thailand registered company Mitsubishi Elevator Thailand Co. Ltd (MET) by the Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. Mitsubishi Corporation is a general trading company. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation manufactures and sells electric and electronic equipment. MET is active in the supply, installation, maintenance and repair of elevators, escalators and moving walkways, as well as the supply of relevant components and elevator and escalator monitoring and safety products. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns because MET's activities are limited to Thailand. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7143 .

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Chesapeake and MPS by Carlyle and MDP in packaging sector

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Chesapeake Service Ltd of the United Kingdom and Multi Packaging Solutions Inc by the Carlyle Group and Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, all of the United States.  The Carlyle Group is a global alternative asset manager. Madison Dearborn Partners LLC is a private equity firm. Chesapeake and Multi Packaging Solutions Inc are mainly active in the manufacture and sale of secondary paper-based packaging solutions. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because there are only minimal overlaps between the activities carried out by the parties. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.7127 .  

Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of joint control over Pivdennyi Ore Mining and Processing Plant by Metinvest and Lanebrook in mining sector

The European Commission has approved under the EU Merger Regulation the acquisition of joint control over Pivdennyi Ore Mining and Processing Plant of Ukraine by Metinvest B.V. of the Netherlands and Lanebrook Limited of Cyprus. Metinvest is a vertically integrated mining and metals group, with assets based in Ukraine, Bulgaria, the United Kingdom and the United States. Lanebrook is the holding company of the Evraz Group, a multinational vertically integrated steel, mining and vanadium company. Pivdennyi Ore Mining and Processing Plant is a large Ukrainian mining company that produces iron ore concentrate for sintered products which are processed further at steel plants by customers. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would not raise competition concerns, in particular because customers in the European Economic Area (EEA) will continue to have alternative sources of supply for iron ore. The transaction was examined under the normal merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission's competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.6974 .  

December 2013 compared with November 2013 - Volume of retail trade down by 1.6% in euro area - Down by 0.8% in EU28

In December 2013 compared with November 2013, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade fell by 1.6% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.8% in the EU28, according to estimates from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In November retail trade increased by 0.9% and 0.8% respectively. In December 2013 compared with December 2012 the retail sales index decreased by 1.0% in the euro area and rose by 0.1% in the EU28.The average volume of retail trade for the year 2013, compared with 2012, fell by 0.9% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28.

European Social Fund: conference to promote more effective and efficient implementation in 2014-2020

To ensure an efficient and effective use of the more than €70 billion (more than €80 billion in current prices) available to Member States from the European Social Fund (ESF) in the 2014-2020 period, the European Commission, together with the Greek Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers, is bringing together policy makers and ESF stakeholders at a conference in Brussels on 6-7 February. "Investing in people's skills and improving their opportunities are essential to achieve sustainable and inclusive recovery. In the present context of multiple social and economic challenges, the Commission is working closely with Member States to ensure the most effective use of ESF money for the 2014-2020 period, seizing every opportunity provided by the new regulations", said Commissioner László Andor. ( MEMO/14/84)

Ban on dangerous cigarette lighters maintained

Children risk injury and even death from fires caused by novelty cigarette lighters and cigarette lighters which are not child resistant. For this reason the EU has extended the ban of such lighters until 11 May 2015. The aim is to protect children across the EU from the dangers that arise from the misuse of cigarette lighters. In the meantime, the relevant European standardisation organisation, CEN, is continuing to work on a suitable European standard for determining the child resistance of lighters. This standard will be based on technical parameters rather than the use of child panels which are considered to be too burdensome. A further prolongation of the ban is possible in the future if necessary. For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/prod_legis/prod_legislation_lighters_en.htm

Detention: Commission calls on Member States to implement commonly agreed rules for people sentenced or awaiting trial in another EU country

Common rules on matters related to detention, adopted unanimously by Member States, have been implemented only in around half of the EU's 28 countries, according to a new European Commission report released today. The report examines the implementation of three separate EU Framework Decisions covering the transfer of prisoners, probation and alternative sanctions  and the European Supervision Order.

MEDIA and Creative Europe in limelight at Berlinale

Nearly 30 films supported by the European Union's MEDIA fund have been selected for the official programme of the Berlin International Film Festival (6-16 February). The films, which include four in the main competition (see full list below) have received €2.2 million in EU funding to date. The bulk of funding from MEDIA, part of the new Creative Europe programme, supports the international distribution of European films outside their country of origin. Over the next seven years more than 800 European films will receive a total of €800 million in development and distribution support from MEDIA.

'Juvenes Translatores': Winners of EU Young Translator Contest announced

The names of the winners of the European Commission’s annual EU Young Translator 'Juvenes Translatores' contest for secondary school pupils are published today. More than 3 000 teenage pupils from 750 schools sat the contest and their papers were marked by the Commission's in-house translators. The winners – one per Member State - will be invited to an award ceremony in Brussels on 8 April.

New EU macro-regional strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian 

Preparations have reached a milestone for a brand new macro-regional strategy to support cooperation among 8 countries in the Adriatic and Ionian region (Croatia, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia). Hosted by the Greek Presidency and the European Commission, a high-level Stakeholder Conference takes place in Athens from 6-7 February. It marks the end of a wide consultation that has involved civil society and stakeholders across the 8 countries. This will feed into a formal proposal later this year from Regional Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn for a tailor made strategy that reflects the needs and the capacities of the region. At the conference, Commissioner Hahn and Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki are joining Foreign Ministers from the countries involved. Antonis Samaras, Prime Minister of Greece, will open the conference. This is the first time in a macro-regional strategy that there is an equal balance of EU and non EU countries. Crucially in a region that has seen some of Europe's most serious conflicts, the strategy will help to bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU. Speaking ahead of the conference in Athens, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn commented: "We are at a crucial stage in our preparations for a tailor -made strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian macro-region.  This is Europe's third macro-regional strategy, and we have learnt the importance of political commitment and of participating countries focusing their efforts in the macro-regional approach. This will be key to this Strategy's success." 

The European External Action Service will host a High level meeting on the Sahel on 6 February 2014

More than 25 Ministers from the region and high level representatives of international institutions including the United Nations, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and others will attend the meeting.

International coordination will be at the heart of the discussion and the agenda should include the following discussion items: (i) comparative assessment of existing Sahel strategies (ii) how to enhance collective security in the Sahel-Sahara region? (iii) how to tackle vulnerability and enhance socio-economic development? (iv) how to enhance international coordination?

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